Dewsbury Rams 4
THE Rams’ youthful side suffered the expected heavy defeat away to the Super League side in the fourth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup at Twickenham Stoop but will regard it as a good learning experience.
Only four players from the team on duty at Batley in the previous game retained their starting places and two of those, Craig Cook and influential Steve Crossley, came off early because of injuries. It put a great deal of pressure on the young players, some of whom were not in their usual positions, but they stood up to be counted and gave a battling performance.
As coach Warren Jowitt remarked: “Despite the margin, the lads were still very upbeat after the game because they felt they had given a good account of themselves. We had to be realistic and we were never going to come down here and beat a Super League club but I was proud of the way the players conducted themselves.”
Half-back Jonathan Schofield came on for his debut and impressed in very difficult circumstances and there was a fine lead up front from Rob Spicer, who is steadily working his way back to full match fitness, and the hard-working Josh Tonks, who did not take a backward step. Matty Nicholson, making his first start of the season, also showed up well.
However, the Rams had no answer to the experienced London stand-off Michael Witt and scrum-half Craig Gower, who were heavily involved in much of their side’s attacking work.
If the Rams had been able to hold out for the first quarter, they might have really stretched the hosts but they conceded two tries in the first 10 minutes, one converted, and London visibly grew in confidence. They are a side capable of ramming home an advantage when on top, as they have shown in some Super League games, and they soon realised this was a good chance for them to lift matters.
Powerful prop Antonio Kaufusi and winger Kieran Dixon gained the early scores and they went on to have things comfortably in hand by half-time with further tries by Chad Randall, Dan Sarginson, Dixon and Luke Dorn to lead 32-0.
They added three quick tries early in the second half through Jamie O’Callaghan, Witt and Chris Bailey. Kaufusi went over again but the Rams continued to show an abundance of spirit and delighted their enthusiastic following with a good attack which saw them create space for Jamaine Akaidere to go over for what proved to be their only try. Ed Barber failed at goal from wide out.
London were determined not to ease off and Witt, O’Callaghan and Matt Cook added further scores in a one-sided last quarter. Witt added seven goals and Gower landed three.
The Rams should not be downhearted. This was a great chance to give their youngsters experience of Super League opponents and the fact they worked hard to the end says much for the spirit at the club.